North Texas Dentistry Volume 9 Issue 3 2019 ISSUE 3 DE - Page 22
Compliance advisors are receiving
more and more calls regarding what
type of mask to wear in a clinical
setting, depending on one’s job
by Lee Slaton
description and the type of
procedures being performed.
First things first. No matter what the type of mask you wear, in
order to protect yourself, it’s important to do these things:
Change your mask after every patient.
Change your mask every 20 minutes if you’re working in
an environment with high aerosols production.
Wear the mask correctly. This is extremely important.
There’s a front and back to a mask. One side should go
toward your eyes, the other toward your chin. The mask
should be pulled fully over the nose, mouth, and chin.
Three Barrier Levels
The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)
defines three mask levels (1, 2 and 3) dental professionals
should consider when performing different functions or proce-
dures. Level-1 masks are considered low barrier; level-2, mod-
erate barrier; and level-3, high barrier.
OSHA doesn’t dictate which level of mask should be worn dur-
ing dental procedures; it only states masks should be worn. In
some literature, it refers to numbers that would indicate the
properties of level-1 masks are sufficient.
But as is sometimes the case, OSHA requirements—and/or
CDC and the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention
(OSAP) recommendations — don’t always line up with the latest
and best practices.
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